Command Structures

My blogs tend to make reference to command and leadership in public order situations. The police service has numerous ranks but in public order and other major incident situations, this structure can become confusing, especially when other partner organisations are involved. Following the riots in Broadwater Farm in 1985, the Metropolitan Police devised a simple hierarchical command structure with three tiers, Gold, Silver and Bronze that has been adopted by all emergency services. These command structures are role, not rank, specific, however, tend to follow rank.


The Gold Commander is in overall command of the incident and responsible for providing the strategy, resourcing the incident and liaison with Gold Commanders from partner organisations. In the Police Service, Gold Commanders tend to be of ACPO/ACPOS Rank and, in public order, certain tactics require the approval of and ACPO/ACPOS ranked officer, therefore if these are to be used, then the Gold should hold that rank.


The Silver Commander is responsible for delivering the strategy set by Gold, by providing a tactical plan. The Silver Commander needs to maintain an overview of the entire incident and provide leadership and direction to Bronze Commanders. Normally they will be remotely located along with partner agencies. Within the police, they would normally hold a superintending or senior inspecting rank.


The Bronze Commander is responsible for implementing the tactical plan on the ground. They will command the resources on the ground. A large scale incident may have several Bronze Commanders with geographical responsibilities or specialist responsibilities. For example their may be north and south area Bronzes, along with cordon Bronzes, traffic management Bronzes. In the police, they would normally be of Inspecting or Sergeant Rank.


For very large scale incidents, there may be a Platinum Commander who will represent the Government and be provided by the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR).


One Response to Command Structures

  1. Pingback: Social Media – I don’t get it | Police Geek

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